Athersys and Chugai link up to develop MultiStem cell therapy for ischemic stroke in Japan

Athersys will receive an upfront cash payment of US$10m from Chugai

Athersys, of Cleveland, Ohio, in the US has formed a partnership with Chugai Pharmaceutical Co of Japan to develop and commercialise the MultiStem cell therapy for ischemic stroke in Japan.

Under the financial terms of the agreement, Athersys will receive an up-front cash payment of US$10m from Chugai and would receive additional payments as the programme is further advanced.

Athersys is also eligible to receive milestone payments of up to $45m upon the successful achievement of certain development and regulatory milestones, and sales milestones of up to 17.5 billion Yen (approximately $150m).

The company would also receive double-digit royalties on any net sales, as well as payments for product supplied to Chugai.

MultiStem is currently being evaluated in a Phase II clinical study for ischemic stroke in the US and Europe, and the company has begun preparations for clinical development in Japan.

Chugai is a research-based pharmaceutical company with strengths in biotechnology products, and brings substantial expertise and experience in late-stage development and commercialisation in Japan to the agreement

Gil Van Bokkelen, Chairman and Chief Executive of Athersys, said: ‘We believe that Chugai represents an outstanding partner with strong capabilities in all facets of the development, commercialisation and marketing of novel medicines in the Japanese healthcare market. Chugai has been a leader in the development and introduction of innovative biologics and has successfully established one of the top sales forces in the prescription drug field in Japan, which we believe represents a key competitive advantage that can help both companies maximise value.’

As part of the collaboration, Chugai will be responsible for the development and commercialisation of MultiStem for ischemic stroke in Japan, and Athersys will have responsibility for product supply.

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